Pacific Avenue Bridge
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 20 years ago
The historic Pacific Avenue Bridge will be removed in the next couple of years to make way for a new bridge. The current bridge (originally constructed in 1897) isn't up to heavy vehicular traffic but there are some plans to try to move the bridge (either up or down stream, depending on cost) and make it a strictly bike/walking bridge over the Tongue.

The Pacific Avenue Bridge is eligible for National Historic Register listing, although it isn't currently listed, and is one of the last surviving Pennsylvania style truss bridges left in Montana. We want to save the bridge and create a network of bike and walking trails at the same time.

So, you may be hearing about this in the near future. If anyone has suggestions, let me know.

--Amorette
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 19 years ago
Me again. The Pac. Ave. bridge project has been pushed back to 2003 and possibly later due to federal funding problems. (Sigh. Don't get me started.) So I got an extension on adopting the bridge until mid-March of this year. I've got folks interested, although no one willing to "take ownership" yet and I can't get anyone to give me an estimate on how much it will cost to move but there is hope! I don't suppose anyone here ever moved an 80 ton bridge? I suggested just lots of guys and beer come Aug, when the Tongue should be dry, but no one else thought that was feasible. Hey, we'd take the roadway decking off first and that would drop the weight a few tons! Okay, ducking under the NP bridge would be tricky but I wouldn't hand out the second round of beers until we were past that obstacle.
--Amorette
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+174) 19 years ago
Amorette,

I looked for an article in the Star concerning the bridge but came up short. Maybe you can help. What is the motivation for the bridge repair? Does it need replacement because it's in poor condition, because of traffic flow, or because it's not loaded for heavy loads?

Joe
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 19 years ago
The Pacific Ave. bridge--which goes over the Tongue river to the back of the fairgrounds and Spotted Eagle--was built in 1897. It was the finished bridge in the state at the time but was not built for modern loads and the vibrations that vehicles create. It is also a single lane bridge because cars are wider than horses. For pedestrian or horse traffic, it is adequate. For cars and trucks however. . .

Stringers are cracked and have been repaired over the years so while it isn't about to fall down, it does need to be replaced. The new bridge will be two lane with a pedestrian crossing. Much safer. We're hoping to move the old bridge and use if for pedestrian, bicycle or maybe golf cart traffic.

--Amorette
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+174) 19 years ago
Amorette,

Thanks for explaining the Pacific Ave Bridge dilemma to me. I've since crossed it a few times en route to Spotted Eagle. It doesn't quite trip the "thrill meter" as much as crossing the Kinsey bridge but it's close. I'd been misinformed that it was the Main St. bridge which was targeted for replacement which didn't make a lot sense to me...

Joe

p.s.- Congratulations on your nomination to the city planning commission. From what I've read you'd be a valuable contributor to the process.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 19 years ago
Actually, the Main St. bridge is scheduled to be replaced because it is narrow and when the Feds pay for repaving--which we hope they will do for Main St. as a whole the way they did East Main--they want the bridge wider. If you cross it on a semi, it does feel a wee bit narrow. Structurally, it's fine, just too skinny.

Originally, the State Hiway Dept. was going to cut down a bunch of old cottonwoods along the dike, built a temporary detour bridge, tear down the Main st. bridge, build the new Main St. bridge and then tear down the detour.

I don't know who it was that had the brilliant idea that, as long as the Pac. Ave bridge was in dire need of replacement, why not replace the Pac. Ave. bridge and use it as a detour, save the trees and give us a new Pac. Ave bridge. Which I am all for.

I would like to save the old bridge but not if it means not getting a new one. I'm a preservationist but I'm not crazy!

Yeah, I figured I'd get my two cents on old buildings if I joined the zoning commission. Haven't met yet but it gives me something to look forward to. I guess.

--Amorette
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